Theselah - "No Sleep More Fun"
(K.O.A. Records 2001, koa002)
From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
Theselah are a four-piece band from New York comprising of what seems like a bit of family inter-linkage. I hope I'm right here when I say the brothers Joseph Kim - Guitar, Vocals, and Bass. And Nam Kim - Drums. Joined by the brothers David Yang - Guitar, Vocals, and Bass. And Peter Yang - Bass, Vocals, and Drums. This is their second release on the K.O.A Records label, the first being the self titled Theselah in 1999.
The band recorded this album on a single cassette based 4-Track machine, so it tells me in the literature accompanying the CD. If this is the case they have done a great job, for the sound is to a high standard considering the recording methods. Their first album could possibly have been done in the same way because it also says that the band firmly embrace the DIY ethic. So here is a band that should sound exactly the same live as they do on this CD. What do they sound like then?
Well I sense a few different musical paths at work here, 'Bad-Ass Hi-Fi' offers a loud feedback Guitar Frenzy, it's manic distortion driven sound is simple yet effective. 'Uryne', 'Take it fast or Take it Slow' and 'Anthem of K.O.A' also have a distorted tinge to them and sound similar to The Pixies in a certain way. The Beats and Bass lines are moulded with hard guitar to make these songs rather harsh but not too harsh. The vocals are somewhat enthusiastic towards their muse and sound like a bit of distortion has been used to rough them up a bit, on certain songs anyway. The songs themselves have a hard guitar pop song feel to them, maybe that is where The Pixies come into it. That is one path I can hear.
The other path is a total contrast to the above with 'Nothing Special', 'Lazy Dresser' and 'Little Song to Self' being slower/mellower and sliding towards middle of the road European café music played with a bit of sadness in the eye or something. 'Anna Come Out' sounds like a fuzzy style Beatles song. I can't quite grasp what makes me think this, maybe the tempo and the finger style slow arpeggio or maybe the la la la la la la la vocal harmonies. I don't know. Maybe both? 'Green Blue Canyon', and 'Rooks Derisious' are both instrumentals and both offer a short and brief glimpse of what Theselah do best to me on this album. These two pieces lean more towards the floating improvisation side of things and give a more interesting sound overall, which I like. These two are better than the other tracks to me because I cannot really get into those droning type guitar pop songs.
The K.O.A Records bio states: To sum up 'No Sleep, More Fun', a product borne of prolonged anxiety and a delicate chemistry, marks a significant step towards the realisation of a greater potential. We hope that the listener will hear something of this potential. I did hear potential of something; we shall see what they have in store for us next time?
For more information you can visit the K.O.A. Records web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o K.O.A. Records; 3383 Lerner Hall; New York, NY 10027.
Reviewed by Albert Pollard